Reflux in babies and children

Reflux in babies and children

The amount of children taking medication for reflux has increased dramatically in the last 10 years.  Why is that?

  • Are we more aware of the effects of reflux on babies due to chat in Facebook groups etc?
  • Or are our baby’s guts getting more sensitive as time goes on?
  • Are doctors reaching for the script pad too quickly without considering other options?

Whatever the reason, if you think your baby does have reflux, it is definitely going to be better to get to the root cause of the issue, rather than medication.  This applies whether your child has silent reflux, or frequent vomiting.

The use of reflux medication in children is associated with many health risks.

According to the manufacturer, ‘mild side effects’ of Losec (one of the common reflux medications) include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Skin rash, itchy skin
  • Wind
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dry or sore mouth

Hang on, the side effects of reflux medication include wind, stomach pain and nausea?  That doesn’t sound like this is going to help your child’s gut health!

Scientific studies also demonstrate links between taking reflux medications and your child having more:

  • Gastroenteritis (stomach bugs)
  • Respiratory infections
  • Bone Fractures
  • Low Magnesium levels

With any medication, you always have to weigh the risks versus the benefits.  In this situation, as you can see, there are a lot of risks.  Some of these risks you may not have even known about.

To be on the safe side, make sure you do your best to approach reflux in babies and children from a natural and safe perspective.

There are lots of changes you can make straight away, that don’t cost much (if anything!)

  • Keep baby upright for 20 minutes after feed
  • Prop up your baby on pillows for nappy changes, and don’t push up their legs to their belly. If you can, change the nappy before the feed, not afterwards.  Murphy’s law dictates that if you do this, they will poop again after their feed, but give it a go.  And make sure the nappy isn’t too tight.
  • Make sure everyone knows there is a ban on bouncing, jumping, tickling after feed
  • See if you can buy a specially designed wedge to raise baby’s head in the cot.
  • If baby permits, aim for frequent, small feeds.
  • Sit baby upright to get wind out after feed.

If baby is breast fed, mum should remove highly allergenic foods for a few weeks.  Sorry mums but his means no dairy, soy, chocolate or wheat.  Many people find that the reflux disappears instantly when they remove the offending foods.

If your child is already on solids avoid fried foods, lots of refined carbohydrates (cake, biscuit, rice).  Also avoid the allergenic foods mentioned above.

For bottle fed bubs, explore different formulas.  Some people find that moving to a goats milk formula makes a big difference.

My favourite remedy for reflux in adults and kids is cabbage juice or sauerkraut juice.  Before you turn your nose up, give it a go.  Don’t assume your child won’t take it.  You might just need to syringe a teaspoon into their mouth a few times a day – not much worse than syringing in medicine.  This heals the digestive tract and works really well.

Stressed out mums make stressed out babies which make reflux worse.  Make sure you prioritise time away from baby to relax and rejuvenate.  Go to a yoga class and sip a cup of chamomile tea, and this will help your baby’s digestion.

And lastly, there are probiotics specifically targeted at reflux in kids which work well.

Make an appointment with me to see if I can help you wean off the medication or avoid it.

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